Friday, September 25, 2009
The Cheeses of Languedoc
Roquefort is world famous, but there are other delightful cheeses from the Languedoc, though few are imported into this country.
[Photo: Cheeses of the Languedoc, Pavé de la Ginestarié is in the foreground. Thierry Bordas, Ladepeche.fr]
I enjoyed the tiny goat cheese called Pélardon, once recommended for jaundice, and Cabécou, a small round goat’s milk cheese with its hint of grass and milk, but also Pavé de la Ginestarié, a fermier cheese (farm made) from the Tarn, a region of Languedoc in the hills, where Albi is the capital. It is a creamy yellow-white goat cheese that was pleasant with a slight taste of straw, and not as distinctive as the Anneau de Vic-Bilh Tarn, a fuzzy, strong-tasting goat cheese from the Pyrenees with a rind of natural mold powdered with charcoal that sticks to the top of your mouth. Pas de l’Escalette is a cow’s milk cheese from the Rouergue, a region of the Aveyron, part of the Massif Central, where Roquefort comes from. It is a crusty-skinned, mild, and familiar-tasting type of cheese. Pérail, from Larzac in the Rouergue, is a ewe’s milk cheese with a smooth texture like very thick cream and a velvety flavor. Laguiole-Aubrac is a straw-colored, cylindrical, pressed cow’s milk cheese with a grayish rind and strongish flavor, also called fourme de Laguiole, made in the small village of the Rouergue. Its strong and rich flavor is said to come from the milk, from the Aubrac cows, and the kind of vegetation eaten by the cows, and its production has been regulated since the twelfth century. A very old preparation, soupe au laguiole, is an oven-roasted soup layered with this cheese, cabbage, bread, and chicken broth. Another cheese is Picodon de Saint-Agrève, a small and soft goat’s milk cheese from the Vivarais in Languedoc. The name comes from the Occitan word for “spicy,” although the taste is very dry rather than spicy. For finding these cheeses try www.igourmet.com or artisanalcheese.com.